the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Posts Tagged ‘bodies’

stewart on the miniature book as a talisman

Posted by rigorousm on January 21, 2015

“The social space of the miniature book might be seen as the social space, in miniature of all books: the book as talisman to the body and emblem of the self; the book as microcosm and macrocosm; the book as commodity and knowledge, fact and fiction. The early artisanal concern with the display of skill emphasizes the place of the miniature book as object, and more specifically as an object of person, a talisman or amulet. … This book/jewel, carried by the body, multiplies significance by virtue of the tension it creates between inside and outside, container and contained, surface and depth.”

Susan Stewart, “The Miniature,” On Longing, p 41.


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Marion Woodman on metaphorical metallurgy, mind-body connections

Posted by rigorousm on November 25, 2014

The bodies, as Donne says, must yield “their forces, sense, to us.” Analyst and analysand must recognize those forces as not “dross to us, but allay.”

Donne’s image of bodily sense as allay (alloy) rather than dross is taken from metallurgy, which has behind it the history of alchemy. Dross is an impurity which weakens metal; allay is an impurity which strengthens it. The soul, like gold, if too refined or pure becomes soft so that it can harden into an identifiable form. If the soul thinks it is above all identity, being to pure to have a form…, then it will experience the alloy of the body as dross. The woman’s task is to persevere with the body until she recognizes that it is not dross but alloy. And the way to do this is to allow the body to play, to give it space and allow it to make whatever movements it wants to make.

— Marion Woodman, “Ascent to the Goddess,” Addiction to Perfection: the still unravished goddess, p 78.

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Balingit on your heart

Posted by rigorousm on December 29, 2013

Your heart is a pump not much bigger than a sweet potato.
It weighs about half a pound. It is a hollow
ball of muscle of butterflies of stone
connected to your arteries and veins.

Your heart is a steel wrecking ball, glove
unbuttoned at the wrist. Slip it off, see your heart
dented flat in places. Winking,
a mirror ball all night tossing stars

Until pound becomes gush and sigh—and heart settles
down to feeding cells, firing the dark
regions of your hungry brain, moving blood
steadily, without fail.

But we are all so deceived by the heart as a pump we forget
the heart itself is alive! Odd to think, the heart must pump
blood to the heart. Feed
its own lush cravings. Dream—no matter

how fast your heart beats—it’s how
hard your heart beats that’s wildly important.
(For while everyone knows that the heart beats,
very few of us know why.)

Your heart is tough but it can suffer
injury, like any other part of the body. Luckily
given half a chance, a healthy heart will heal itself
if the cause of the hurt is lessened or removed.

Did you know, if all the work your heart does in one day
could be used to lift you off the ground, it would raise you
twice as high as the Empire State Building, twice as high
as the lowest clouds in your sky on a brooding day?

I weeded and automated two school libraries. Pre-adolescents & teenagers coursed through these cavernous rooms, flinging off energies which made the books glow. Nevertheless, I sent many wonderful books to recycling bins, minus their cloth-covered boards, which elementary teachers hoard. I kept Your Heart and How It Works by Herbert S. Zim (Morrow, 1959). All About Snakes (Random House, 1956) inspired “Shake the Famous Tail” in the anthology North of Wakulla (Anhinga P). New poems are germinating from Seeds: Their Place In Life and Legend (Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1936); from a book about the virgin Moon; and from a biography of President Kennedy as a man who would never die.

JoAnn Balingit, “YOUR HEART AND HOW IT WORKS.” Diagram 4.3.

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Dillard on Writing

Posted by rigorousm on December 1, 2013

The line of words fingers your own heart. It invades arteries, and enters the heart on a flood of breath; it presses the moving rims of thick valves; it palpates the dark muscle strong as horses, feeling for something, it knows not what. A queer picture bedsin the muscle like a worm encysted– some film of feeling, some song forgotten, a scene in a dark bedroom, a corner of the woodlot, a terrible dining room, that exalting sidewalk; these fragments are heavy with meaning. The line of words peels them back, dissects them out. Will the bared tissue burn? Do you want to expose these scenes to the light? You may locate them and leave them, or poke the spot hard till the sore bleeds on your finger, and write with that blood. If the sore spot is not fatal, if it does not grow and block something, you can use its power for many years, until the heart resorbs it.

— Anne Dillard, The Writing Life p 20.

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